A Valentine’s Day you will Remember – For all the Right Reasons!

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With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, wherever you go, you are likely to see boxes of chocolates in heart shapes, pink and red decorations and flower bouquets on sale for the special day. To be quite honest, I prefer a nice home cooked meal in the safety of our own home. No stress. And for flowers, my boyfriend is always careful as some smell very strong and can trigger my asthma. We like to keep Valentine’s Day simple. On Valentine’s Day, I like to stay in.

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?

Click one of the following links below to see a few tips to prepare you for a wonderful Valentine’s Day, if:

You are the one with Food Allergies

Your date has Food Allergies

** Remember, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about food. You can go on a romantic date without any food! Like a nice skate, or ski or walk in the park. Perhaps even a hike, or if you live in Victoria, BC where there is not snow… A nice paddle. :)

Be safe and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

I know I will! :)

Valentine’s Day if your date has Food Allergies

If your date has Food Allergies, I have a few tips for you below.

Going out for a Valentine’s Day dinner?

  1. Your date may want to call the restaurant ahead of time to find out if they can accommodate their Food Allergies; some restaurants will not.
  2. Even if you wanted to keep the name of the restaurant a surprise, if your date asks, know that they will feel safer and more relaxed knowing that it is a restaurant where the staff is prepared to accommodate their Food Allergies.
  3. Lastly, order a meal that would also be safe for your date to eat. Your date will feel wonderful knowing that you want to eat something that is safe for them, and will make the evening more relaxed. Who knows, might even mean you get a nice kiss for being so thoughtful :)

Staying in for Valentine’s Day?

  1. Be sure that the ingredients used for your dinner are safe and there is no cross-contamination
  2. If your date asks to help you in preparing dinner allow them to help, even if you wanted to make dinner for them. Or, show them all the ingredients you plan to use and have your date help you ensure the kitchen is clean and they feel safe with the utensils, pans and dishes you plan to use. Personally, I feel safer using metal cooking utensils over plastic in a kitchen where my allergens may be present.
  3. If your date would like to clean utensils, pans, cutting boards and dishes before making dinner, go with it. Help them feel safe and relaxed. It’ll make the evening even more romantic and enjoyable if they feel supported and understood.
  4. Avoid eating things your date is allergic to for the one night. You can have them tomorrow. Keep this evening relaxed, fun and safe.
  5. If your date asks to have the evening free of all foods they are allergic to, don’t question it. You will have a wonderful Valentine’s Day evening without worry.

Wanting to give chocolates or another edible treat? 

  1. Double and triple check the labels – Look for a may contain statement which may not be close to the ingredient list.
  2. If you feel uncertain, skip the chocolates. Make homemade chocolates or buy some roses, write a nice card or be creative. Valentine’s Day doesn’t always have to be about chocolates and candies.
  3. Tell your date that you tried to find chocolates however you were not sure if any of the ones you had found would have been safe. Your date will appreciate knowing that you wanted to find chocolates or candy or other however at the end of the day, you chose a safer option.

When in doubt, just speak up! :)

Have a safe and romantic Valentine’s Day and please leave your thoughts and comments below!

Valentine’s Day if you are the one with Food Allergies

If you are the one with Food Allergies, I have a few tips for you below.

Going out for a Valentine’s Day dinner?

  1. Call the restaurant you are going to ahead of time.
  2. Prepare a cue card listing all your allergies and level of severity before you go
  3. Talk to the waiter/waitress when they first come to your table and ask for drinks; that way, they may notify their manager about the allergies before you even order.

Staying in for Valentine’s Day?

  1. Be sure that the ingredients used for your dinner are safe and there is no cross-contamination
  2. If your date wants to make you dinner and you feel a little uncertain about cross-contamination in their kitchen, tell them that you trust them, however you would feel more relaxed if you could help prepare and cook – They will understand
  3. If you are concerned your date may eat something you are allergic to and then kiss you, speak up. Please do not sit all evening feeling stressed or anxious about what may or may not happen.
  4. Ask to have a completely safe evening, with only foods you can have, so you can kiss and not worry about what they may or may not have had

Receiving chocolates or another edible treat? 

  1. Double and triple check the labels – Look for a may contain statement which may not be close to the ingredient list.
  2. If you feel uncertain, let your date know that you appreciate the gift, however you’d feel more comfortable after calling the company to confirm that it was made in a safe facility without cross-contamination.
  3. Ask that your date not eat them either, in case they are not safe for you; tell your date that you would feel more relaxed knowing they had not eaten anything you may be allergic to.

When in doubt, just speak up! :)

Have a safe and romantic Valentine’s Day and please leave your thoughts and comments below!

Milestone’s – A Restaurant Chain I Trust with my Food Allergies!

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Have you found a restaurant chain that you trust with food allergies, whether it be your allergies or perhaps a loved ones allergies? There are only a few chain restaurants I trust very much with my allergies. Milestone’s is one of these. I have been to Milestone’s 3 times now in the last 2 years (Yes, I do not eat out much) and each time the waiter/waitress, chef and kitchen manager have gone above and beyond to make me feel understood and feel safe.

A little over a week ago, my boyfriend, my brother and I all went to the Milestone’s on 1210 Denman Street in Vancouver, BC and we had such a wonderful dinner experience. From the very start our waiter, Steve B. made me feel understood. After providing him a hand written list of all my “life-threatening” food allergies as well as my “sensitivities” he went over each with me, explaining where they might be found in the kitchen. I discussed with Steve B. whether or not he thought I could have a salad and if they could ensure that there was no cross-contamination. He promised that he would advise the chef of the severity of the allergies and minimizing cross-contamination. He spoke very confidently and was very re-assuring. I felt that that Steve B really cared. That in itself made me feel less anxious. Still on my guard but not as worried.

A few minutes later he brought out an amazing salad for me, that the chef, Michael had prepared for me in a separate area. He advised that the chef was wonderful and truly understood allergies.

WP_20150125_015Now, a week later, we had dinner at a Milestone’s on 700 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, Ontario. Our wonderful waitress, Alisha A. was very understanding as well and spoke with the kitchen staff and manager upon our arrival and provided the kitchen with a list of all my “life-threatening” food allergies as well as my “sensitivities”. Alisha A. was very caring and made me feel like my allergies were nothing to worry about and that the kitchen would be as careful as possible. I ordered the same salad I had in Vancouver with balsamic vinegar and olive oil to be safe and a baked potato.

Dinner was amazing!! I wanted more! :) Wouldn’t you?!?

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Have you ever been to Milestone’s with food allergies? Please share your experiences in the comments!

 

 

 

Where can “Priority Allergens” be found?

 

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On Friday I shared a post about soybeans and 2 places I really did not expect I would find them – ink and pillows. This morning I thought I would share some information shared on Anaphylaxis Canada’s website about “priority allergens”, also known as food allergens identified as being the most common, based on Canadian food labelling requirements.

Here are the 10 “priority allergens”:

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Mustard
  • Peanuts
  • Seafood (fish, crustaceans, shellfish)
  • Sesame
  • Soy
  • Sulphites
  • Tree Nuts
  • Wheat

Anaphylaxis Canada – Priority Food Allergens

Anaphylaxis Canada has clearly outlined other names, possible sources and non-food sources for the different food allergens. Though the lists are not exhaustive, they are a great place to start if you are curious where some of these food allergens can be hidden.

Have a look and let us all know in the comments if anything surprised you. Are there other sources you have found for any of the 10 food allergens listed above that are not on Anaphylaxis Canada’s website?

Safe Holidays?

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How were your Holidays? Were you able to eat delicious food surrounded by those you love without a reaction. Thanks to wonderful friends and family who truly understand my allergies, I had a reaction free Christmas. Even my environmental allergies were well controlled as I avoided any environments which might have triggered a reaction.

If you and your family went to friends and family for dinner, did your hosts understand your food allergies? If they had pets, did they understand how your asthma and allergies would be affected?

Hopefully you had great safe holidays and that New Years will also be a safe one for you. If you are going somewhere, please prepare ahead and communicate your allergies and the level of severity. Better to be safe.

Have a wonderful Monday!

Erika

 

Happy Holidays!

I would like to wish you and your family a happy holiday season!

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Remember to be safe and not take any risks with food that you are allergic to. You do not want to end up in the ER on Christmas Eve. I’ve been there, done that and do not wish that upon anyone. We spent December 24th driving to the hospital and all evening in the ER for observation. Please be cautious when eating away from home. There is no such thing as being “too careful”. Ask lots of questions, bring food you know you can eat and let others around you know about your allergies and that you carry and epinepherine auto-injector so that someone can help you if you have a severe reaction. Plan ahead.

As for environmental triggers, speak up and let others know when you are having a reaction or your asthma is flaring up due to pets, smoke, incense or candles.

 

Happy holidays!

Erika